Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Flora et Fauna: Silver Thorn

The plant known as silver thorn looks much like a common thistle. Its growth and development are parallel to that of thistle as well. The difference between silver thorn and thistle is that the entire silver thorn plant appears to be pale green/silver. The leaves are covered with downy hair and the blossoms are white. The roots of silver thorn are a paralytic toxin. The sap of the plant causes tingling and numbness when it comes into contact with the skin. If consumed, it acts as a weak paralytic toxin, making the digestive system temporarily cease processing food. The symptoms of poisoning by consumption of silver thorn sap are identical to the disorder known as gastroparesis.

The crushed root of silver thorn, when steeped in water, releases its toxin into the infusion. This is then applied to weapons. Wounded with a weapon coated with this substance, one can lose the use of the limb affected as the toxin will spread from the injury. If the crushed root of silver thorn is applied directly to the weapon, the toxin's effect will be faster. Injuries with a treated weapon near the head, neck, or spine will result in total paralysis as the toxin effects the central nervous system.

The blossoms of silver thorn are pure white and have the same curious quality of dog violet, a sweet scent that then seemingly vanishes due to the temporary disabling of the oralfactory nerves. A tincture of silver thorn blossoms is used by those who wish to mask their scent. In small doses, this tincture has no negative effect upon the user. Large doses, repeated in a small period of time, results in the user losing sensation in the areas where the tincture is applied.

There is no antidote to silver thorn. The seeds are nontoxic and make up a significant portion of the diet of songbirds, like thistle.

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